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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  May 5, 2010 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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hidden elsewhere and going offshore. mr. akin: in the caribbean. come on down. mr. price: there are hospitals being built in the caribbean in expectation. mr. akin: what you're saying is not outlandish. from a commonsense point of view, we aren't seeing this is going to work. we have the european socialized medicine. we have next door the canadian model and i think it was about 10 years ago the head of canada said, we have the best health care system in the world as long as you're healthy. as long as you're healthy is the problem. if you are not healthy, go down to america. i'm a cancer survivor, doctor. i see what the surviving rates are in england. i wouldn't want to be a cancer survivor there.
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it hasn't worked in england or in canada. and then we saw massachusetts and tennessee take bold forays and they got hammered. what do we do? we do the same dumb thing. i was going to jump to something else. and this is a statistic that surprised me, some of them are in the congressional record and that is the number of people killed by their own government. if you take a look at the gl old communists and look at stalin, he basically had murdered about 40 million people. he was pretty good at murdering people but not nearly as chairman mao in china who has credit for killing 60 million chinese. this was not a war. in fact, if you add just the people killed in various communist countries that killed their own populations, the
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governments killing their own population, more people are killed by just communism alone by all the wars in history since the time of christ. the question is, is it really rational for human beings to put so much trust in government? that's not talking about nazis or other dictators that killed their own citizens. why if it doesn't work for health care and putting government in charge of student loans and insurance for flooding and have the federal government in charge of housing and in charge of education, we got the federal government in charge of car companies, insurance companies, let's see the soviet union, what was their model? the government was in charge of education, health care, your house, your food and your job. it didn't work for them, why do we want to do the same thing here? .
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mr. price: that's the picture being painted for folks all across this land. they have the angst and age sdemrite about the -- anxiety about the future of this country. it's why they're saying, look to washington, are you not listening to us, can you not hear us? they know the government ought not be owning banks and ought not be owning automobile companies and ought not be running health care. they know because it's just not right, they know it because it doesn't result in the highest quality of opportunities and choices and dreams realized for individuals. remember, big government, small citizen. big government, small patient. big government, small consumer. you got small government, you have big patients, you have big citizens, you have big consumers and more dreams ealized. -- realized. mr. akin: and what you're saying is basically you're losing your freedom a little bit here, a little bit there. you're losing your freedom and pretty soon you feel
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frustrated, you feel angry because you have some common sense. we're doing all the wrong things. people on the streets are looking to you, doctor, they're looking to me to try to turn this thing around and get jobs going. of course, we don't have enough votes to turn those policies around. the other thing that's hard on jobs is insufficient liquidity. the banking regulators are so tight now that a lot of businessmen can't get the loans they need to make their business go. of course, excessive government spending we've been talking about and excessive government mandates and red tape. boy, talk about that. and this health care bill is leading the charge and damaged all these areas and the end result is, what, unemployment. not a big surprise, particularly, because we're doing everything wrong. yet, here's the interesting question. apparently what's happening is wall street seems to be doing a lot better. is it because we've turned these bad policies around and
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are doing the right thing in d.c.? no. we're still doing everything wrong and yet wall street seems to be doing better. well, what's the logic of that? well, to some degree it goes back to the same problem that goss us into that housing -- that got us into that housing bubble and that's the crack cocaine of the government that they can create unlimited liquidity. mr. price: unlimited amounts of money. mr. akin: and very low interest rates. you have lots of money with very low interest rates and it comes down and starts to create these bubbles. so we really haven't fixed it. mr. price: you're right. when people look to the items that need to be fixed from a financial standpoint, they look and they see that washington has had its hand in some things that's been destructive. fannie mae and freddie mac, for example, really the epicenter of the challenges we've had in the economy, and the bill that's being proposed and the bill that came through the
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house earlier to assist in, quote, fixing things, their solution,s doesn't address fannie and freddie at all which is frustrating because the american people know there are positive solutions. you at the republican study committee, we've been working diligently on putting forward those positive solutions to all of the challenges that we face that embrace those fundamental american principles. whether it's health care, whether it's energy, whether it's the economy, whether it's jobs, all of those things have fundamental principled solutions that don't require putting the -- require -- mr. akin: we are going to take a commercial break. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california rise? -- the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california rise? ms. matsui: i send to the desk a privileged report for filing under the rules. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 1329,
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resolution providing for consideration of the bill, h.r. 5019, to provide for the establishment of the home star retrofit rebate program, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed. the gentleman from missouri may proceed. mr. akin: thank you, mr. speaker. we have just taking a part a little bit some of what's been happening the last couple of years, why the economy has been struggling some. and why we're having a lot of unemployment and problems. and some people have a hard time understanding why it is that we're having a hard time. this little cartoon kind of comes along the same lines. now give me one good reason you're not hiring, you see, and you have coming in the china shop a couple of bulls. you have the health care reform, the cap and tax and the war on -- tax. that's basically businesses getting just hammered with
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taxes, and, of course, the picture here is we're not doing the right things that we need to be doing to keep the economy going and to create jobs. in fact, we're creating a perfect storm. people have said we have a war going on business and we really do. we're doing everything wrong to try to create jobs and try to get the economy going. so on the one hand we're making a statement here families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. the federal government's got to do the same. what's the federal government doing? oh, we're doing wall street bailout. we're doing the stimulus bill. we're doing the cap and tax bill. we're doing the socialized medicine bill. and now we're proposing, we're proposing institutionalizing bailouts so that anytime anything goes wrong the federal government takes your tax dollars and goes in and picks the winners and losers and bails companies out. now, that's exactly the wrong message. i'm joined by a good friend of mine, g.t., from the wonderful
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state of pennsylvania. and i would yield g.t. just a moment to share along the same linings. mr. thompson: well, i thank my good friend from missouri for leading this very important special order where we're talking about jobs. you know, there was -- i don't want to misquote. i believe it was president reagan, i'll give him credit at this point, jen way, the best welfare program there is a job. mr. akin: give 'em a job. mr. thompson: give 'em a job. that's what we need to be doing. mr. akin: do you think people want to be bailed out? do you think people want their unemployment extended? would they rather a good job with really good prospects and a bright future? i think people would rather have a strong economy. mr. thompson: i think so too. i talked to a constituent of mine from lock haven, pennsylvania, today, and he was calling to talk about the unemployment because he had -- he's been without a job and as
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we got talking it was very clear that what he wanted was not so much the unemployment check but he really wants a job. we got talking to about the things that go into that and why we're not seeing the, you know, the job growth. we're still seeing a -- we're still bloweding to death in terms of our jobs -- we're still bleeding to death in terms of our jobs in this country. as i go around the district and i talk to job creators and job creators, i think as you know, that's our small business owners. you know, over the majority -- the large majority of work is provided through small businesses. mr. akin: i think, gentleman, air right. i think if i recall, if you take 500 employees or less, that's 80% of the jobs in america. so 500 employees, which 500 is kind of a medium-sized but from 500 down it's 80% of u.s. employment. so policies that effect those small businesses are a big deal in terms of jobs.
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mr. thompson: i heard you use the term uncertainty, because as i look at the -- i guess i fall back on my health care background and when it comes to jobs in this country i -- my diagnosis is we've got a psychological problem. we've got a total lack of confidence and a lack of trust, actually, in the federal government and it's earned. the things you have there on your chart is job killers. it's, you know, individuals, small business people who normally every year take a portion and usually a good fair part of their profits and reinvest it into their companies. and when they do that they expand product lines, they expand locations, they expand service lines and they create jobs, good jobs. well, these people are sitting on the sideline right now because they're concerned with all the things they've seen for sometime, especially these past 16 months. many of the things you've identified there, whether it has to do with -- i sit on the small business committee. and we had -- we had a hearing
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with five or six witnesses to come in that represent small businesses. and we were there to talk about -- excuse me -- specifically the role of taxes in small business and what it does to really hurt small businesses. mr. akin: if i might stop you for a minute, if i might pick one on here because we just had a jobs summit back in main street back in st. charles in my district and had we had to do it on main street because everybody talks about main street and i asked a whole bunch of small business leaders, we had about 30 or 40 of them, and we created a list of job killers. and this chart was made before that time. and i asked them to give me their list and rate them in the priority which is more deadly in terms of killing jobs. they came to exactly what you said which is excessive taxation. because when you take that tax out of the hide out of the owner of the business you make it so he cannot then invest in
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those -- in those jobs. so they were all uniformerly excessive taxation was the deal. of course, what we've done is we've got, what is it, the people in the upper 10th of the income bracket are paying something like, what is it, 50% of all of the taxes in the country or something. so we're just hammering these small business owners with taxes and then we wonder why we don't have jobs. you know. and you have the same experience, i gather. mr. thompson: yeah, this panel we heard in the small business committee just reaffirmed that chart you have. each of those bullets came up in the discussion today. you know, when you look at the taxes, tax increases that have been levied in the past 16 months, you know, our colleagues across the aisle said, well, we're going after the wealthy. we're going to increase taxes on the wealthy. well, at least 40% of the individuals who are experiencing and will be experiencing, especially next year come january 1, 2011,
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significant tax increases are small business owners. so people that are organized, limited liability organizations, s corporations, they pay their taxes as individuals but they have a payroll out of their income. they create just tremendously important jobs. mr. akin: you know, that's really kind of a thing. maybe people feel safe to say, hey, we're just going to tax all those rich guys. don't you worry about all the policies we got. well, you know, when you do that wall street bailout where the government's going to pick winners and lorsers and you do the big -- losers and you do the big stimulus thing where you're taking taxpayer money and giving it to states that don't manage their state properly and you're increasing the number of food stamps and all these other kinds of things that if you want to believe in big government that they think they need to do, and then you're going to do this cap and tax thing so everybody's energy costs are going to go up. the president said, i guarantee i'm not going to raise taxes on
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people making less than $250,000. and yet in this chamber we passed a tax that as soon as you flip a light switch you are going to start paying more taxes. now that's not people -- $250,000, that's an average guy that wants to turn his lights on. sure, we're going to tax the rich guys. the trouble is those rich guys are the ones hiring you and your kids. mr. thompson: if the gentleman will yield? mr. akin: i do. mr. thompson: in terms of the cap and trade, cap and tax, the light switch tax, i guess, you know, in pennsylvania public utility commission sent a letter to the pennsylvania delegation adamantly opposing cap and trade because they did their analysis of that bill and electricity costs in pennsylvania would rise by 30%. that 30% tax, that increase will hit -- will not discriminate. it will hit the most wealthy of pennsylvania citizens, but just
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as much, and i think more severely, even, it's going to address those who are just living paycheck to paycheck today. even people that aren't getting by financially. to see a 30% increase in the cost of electricity, that's immoral to me. mr. akin: i'm an engineer by training and let's assume that all of this global warming supposedly science were all true, which we now know, particularly since east anglia and the scandal there that these guys were doctoring the numbers and stuff, let's assume that co-2 is really a bad gas and aside from the fact that we all have to stop breathing because we breathe out carbon di ox side, let's assume that's true. if you wanted to get rid of co-2 in america, regardless of what other nations are doing, if you think it's our moral obligation to get rid of co-2,
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we could get rid of all the crmbing o 2 produced by all the passenger cars in america, the equivalent of that amount by simply taking the electric generation that's done in our country, that's done with coal-fired plants we currently have 20% of electricity in america is made by nuclear. if we were to go from 2% to 40% nuclear, we'd get -- from 20% to 40% nuclear, we'd get rid of all the co-2 produced by every car in america. if you're a democrat and think co-2 is so bad, come out here with a couple of bills saying we're going to gradually phase in nuclear plants in place of coal-fired plants and get rid of all the co-2 produced by every passenger car in america. no, that's not what comes out we come out with a 1,000 page bill, people don't know what's in it, there's not a copy of the bill on the floor, we vote for this piece of trash, which
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fortunately the senate wasn't dumb enough to pass. it a would added -- anybody who flips on a light switch would have been taxed youmple state would have gotten a 30% increase in electric. what does that do to jobs? mr. thompson: it just kills jobs. mr. akin: it does. so that gibed with government mandates and red tape, that gangs up. one thing on top of the next and the next, you get unemployment. go ahead, i didn't mean to interrupt you. we're talking about a light switch tax, you're in the business that's getting the wheelchair tax. it's interesting to see what people want to tax. now we want to tax wheelchairs. in that socialized medicine bill. mr. thompson: the medical device tax has such a wide range. people don't understand what medical devices are. we are a country that's benefited tremendously from medical devices and medical advancements. our health care system as we
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currently have it, but as it currently has it, this is a country where we develop innovations, life-saving techniques, procedures, pharmaceuticals. with medical devices, it's not just wheelchairs but everything from bedpans to prosthetic arms. medical device is a term with many, many different applications. those devices really go toward maintaining quality of life, maintaining the maximum independence for people. so again, i guess i have a lot -- most taxes i would put as immoral, but you start putting tax on electricity for everybody, put a tax on medical devices, it's hard to imagine anything that's going to be more immoral than that at the panel today, a small business, with the small business, i asked a specific question about, where are we in terms, what's the impact given that even before these taxes, we've got a tax in terms of corporate income tax, second highest in the world. what does that do to our small
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businesses that -- that alone? how are they supposed to compete? especially those businesses are formed as corporations, there's many of them that have to pay that. i see my good friend has a great chart there that kind of addresses economic freedom. the response was that, you know, we have the potential for trade. it puts us at a tremendous disadvantage where we've got this tax burden, it's no wonder that that's just one more thing that keeps businesses from growing, jobs from being created and for economic prosperity. mr. akin: i think maybe we could get too negative here. there are solutions to these problems. this stuff is not new. other presidents and other people in different decades have dealt with these problems. there's a solution to get the economy up and going. the funny thing is, it's sad, but the democrats haven't learned from j.f.k. j.f.k. had the formula right he
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reduced taxes. as he reduced taxes, what that meant was the private sector started to grow and created jobs and guess what happened? the government actually got more revenue by reducing taxes which seems a little bit odd. but by getting the taxes off oh -- off the backs of the american public, the businesses prospered. when they did, the taxes that were there brought in more revenue to the government than if they hadn't done that so by cutting taxes, j.f.k. understood you could get the economy going. ronald reagan did the same thing. george bush did the same thing. by cutting taxes, you allow private citizens to invest their money. when they do that, it gets the economy going. the government doesn't get the economy going. all the government can do is create an environment that helps. it's not like these problems -- it's not like there's no answer and it's all doom and gloom. there's clear cut answers. that's what is so terribly frustrating when you see our
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government at war with business and the president saying, we've got to be sensitive to jobs and this and that. every single policy proposed to destructive to job creation in the economy. here's the funny thing. here's the regulations. this is overall economic freedom index. you see america in 2001, here at sixth. it's already down to eighth. if you take a look at corporate taxes, we are the second highest corporate taxes of any country in the world, behind only japan. so our policies are not set to help us with these problems. we're doing all the wrong things. yet you know what? the economy could rebound. why would it rebound? well it would be a little bit like this. i want you to picture, you've got a weak heart. you've had a four-way heart bypass. you have diabetes, you have several other medical maladies and so you're not feeling too
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super strong and all of a sudden, somebody gives you some crack cocaine. you feel like you're superman and you're doing great. that's what's just happened to the u.s. economy. we're doing everything wrong from a point of view of policy. we're doing everything to kill jobs. but we are doing one thing that's going to make people think everything is ok. that is, the federal reserve has increased tremendous amount of liquidity with a very low interest rate. and that trumps all the bad policy decisions we've been making. so you see wall street starting to pick up and stock prices strarting to go up and -- starting to go up and all. why is that happening? because we allowed the fed to create all this liquidity and put our economy on steroids. and that's not going to work for very long. we're going to still -- it's not going to fix that unemployment program. -- problem. before long, we'll jump from unemployment to incredible level of inflation.
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again, this stuff isn't so rocket sciencey. we know it's the right thing to do but we're unwilling to do it. we're unwilling to get off the big spending kick. that's what has to change. i yield to my friend. mr. thompson: i share your concern. in fact, i think that the -- i guess the artificially induced high from the crack cocaine description you used, i think that's going to describe 2010. i think because we've infused a tremendous amount of taxpayer money and i think in a very careless and reckless way into the economy, that's going to help mask the symptoms of the problems that we have in terms of jobs. for 2010. well -- we may all feel bet for the 2010. here's my concern. i think with the amount of deficit spending we've done, come january 1, 2011, this country falls off a cliff financially.
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the tax increases that will be implemented, the ramping up of environmental protection agency that's been tripled in size and will just provide -- we've already seen abusive behavior on their part in terms of them trying to legislate through their authority as an agency the -- redefining what a hazardous gas is, superseding all the normal procedures they use in terms of scientific process to decide that carbon dioxide is a hazardous gas. i'm concerned with where that takes nuss 2011. i think deficit spending never -- things never work out well when you do that type of borrowing, that type of debt, especially when we're indebted to -- principally to other countries with much of that debt. mr. akin: you're absolutely right. 2010 should be a little better
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year because of a weird thing. that is the bush cuts in capital gains expire next year. if you have any capital banes in something, there's a huge incentive this year to sell whatever it is and get your capital gains tax paid this year at 20%, because 2011, it's going to jump to 35% because you know the democrats are not going to allow that tax cut to stay. so you're creating an artificial opportunity for 2010 to look better, where we're going to get ham nerd 2011 because everybody will sell everything they've got capital gains on, that they're going to take that tax hit on. here's what's going on. these are the receipts, the money coming into the federal government, that's this blue dot this pink and red dot is how much we're spending. look at the size of the two and you're going, something's wrong here. that's why i said that when we spend $1, the $1 we spend of federal money, 41 cents is
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borrowed. now you take a look over here at our outlays, what's going on? social security, medicare, medicaid. those are the three big entitlements. they're now bigger than all of the rest of the spending. so now i'm on armed services committee. guess what i'm seeing? we're gutting defense. why? because we don't have enough money here and we've got too much over here. obviously the democrats are not that worried about balancing the budget. they're spending a ton on all kinds of entitlements, bailouts that kind of stuff. but sooner or later, with this amount of entitlement, this amount of defense, we're going to pick up the other problem, which is we're not going to be able to defend ourselves and you're seeing severe cuts in defense spending now and particularly missile defense and our offensive weapons which have always been the thing that have kept americans safe. so all of these problems don't stay tightly inside a box. one thing spills over in the
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other. but these huge outlays of big government have got to be brought under control for our nation to survive. just another infusion of printing -- running the printing presses and dropping the interest rate that crack cocaine works for a little while, but it comes back with a whale of a hangover. mr. thompson: it's deadly in the end. mr. akin: and the trouble is, it's people in your and my districts that will get hung with the costs of the deal. they're struggling to make ends meets, their family have having a hard time, they're getting taxed out of house and home and they're the ones saying, i don't trust what washington, d.c. is doing. i don't trust what wall street is doing. i don't know what to do with the last of my savings that just shrunk out from underneath me because of these policies. we have to get back to some sanity and the basic things that work. we've got to stop taxing the people that run the businesses.
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we have to get liquidity to business owners so they have money to invest. what we have to do is stop all the red tape. we have to basically change the banking rules so that there's some liquidity that way. particularly, -- particularly, we have got to get off of the big spending. we just can't keep running this kind of deficit. this is just something that will not work, mechanically. and so we're going to have to make some tough decisions and what we're going to have to do is let free enterprise work again. that's the thing that pulls us out of this mess is good old american freedom. just allowing the u.s. citizens to be unfettered, have a chance to keep some of what they make, invest in their businesses, invest in americans and stop this whole sort of covetousness idea that any time somebody makes any money, the government's got to take it
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away from them. if we want jobs and we want a strong economy and we want money for the government to be able to spend to pay the government's bills, we're going to have to allow freedom to flourish in america. instead of trying to stomp it out. that's what we're doing. we're following the failed model of the soviet union and stamping out freedom. thank you, gentleman, i appreciate pennsylvania for sending g.t. down. it's a treat to serve with you. thank you all. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. madam, i respectfully wish to resign from the committee of homeland security. i have been honored to serve on the committee and have found my experience to be extremely rewarding. signed, sincerely, ben rahilou juan, member of congress.
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-- ben ray lieu juan, member of congress. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the resignation is accepted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. garamendi: mr. speaker, thank you so very much. and i request permission to engage in a colloquy with my colleagues during the course of this hour. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. garamendi: thank you. what we intended to talk about was the wall street meltdown and the necessity for reform of wall street. however, having listened to our colleagues on the republican side carry out the last hour, there's something that needs to be said about their discussion. first of all, they started with health care, government takeover of health care.
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that is absolutely not true. we passed a major health care reform, and it is not a government takeover. in fact, it builds upon the president american system. there's some government and some very, very good government programs. you tell me what senior in america wants to have medicare done away with. none that i always know of. always room for improvement. there will be problems from time to time. no senior that i'm aware of anywhere in america wants to do away with that government program. but what this bill really did is to help organize the american health care system so they could be more effective and efficient and it builds on the private insurance system which is very much part of america. i know this business because i was the insurance commissioner in california for eight years and i regulated the insurance company. and in this legislation there is heavy-duty regulation of the insurance industry because there was a lot of talk, a lot
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of talk from our republican colleagues about a death panel. i'll tell you where the death panel is, if is the private insurance companies that have heretofore denied denied coverage for people that were seriously ill, that people came up with an illness they immediately -- they would just dump them from the rolls. they would not insure people who had a pre-existing condition. i will tell my republican colleagues and the american people, those days of insurance excesses, those days of insurance discrimination are over. it's over. and the opportunity for every working family, men and women who are working, their eight, 10, 12-hour shifts every day, they'll be able to have their own doctor. that's what this reform does. it is not, it is not a government takeover. in fact, it builds upon the american system unique here, and that's the fact. they also talked about
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taxation. well, let's understand that the bush tax cuts more than 80% of the tax cuts went to the top 10% of wealthy people in america. they got the tax break and the other american people got the shaft. that's not the way we see tax cuts on our side. in fact, my colleague here that will join me from minnesota, was there to vote for the american recovery and reinvestment act. and that is the largest middle-class tax cut in america's history. middle-class tax cut. the issue here is the democrats will cut taxes for the working men and women, the middle class of america.
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as for the republicans, they'll cut the taxes every single time and if you listen carefully to the previous discussion from our republican colleagues, they said it very clearly. they were talking about taxes on -- for those who have limited liability companies. you tell me what small businesses out there in my community, the painting contractor, the plumbing contractor, do they have a limited liability company? no, no. they are sole proprietor. their taxes were cut by democrats and the republicans cut the taxes for wall street. my good colleague from minnesota, mr. ellison, would you -- you had some thoughts about this as you were sitting there listening to them talk about the things that are please going on, please share with us your thoughts. mr. ehlers: thank the gentleman for hold -- mr. ellison: i thank the gentleman for yielding. let me dive right in. few facts the american people may want to consider, the very month that barack obama took
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office, the -- it was january 20, george bush was the president that whole month, 741,000 jobs lost to the american economy. 741,000 jobs lost under the republicans when they had the presidency and even back when they had majorities in both the senate and in the house of representatives. the fact is that the reality is the job losses -- this is a board that i think it very revealing. demonstrates that on the vertical axis is time. month during the year. 2007 all the way to march, 2010. and on this -- on this vertical axis, job changes. here we see when george bush -- in january, 2008, bush begins to lose jobs. and they very clearly go down to hit the very bottom when we
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see december, 2008, january, 2009. what we see during the obama administration is a steady climb back up from the abyss. we've even seen positive job growth for a few months very recently. this is an important fact to point out in the very beginning because as we talk about who ran the economy into the ditch, it's very clear that our republican colleagues managed that on their own and it's democrats who have steered the american economy back to a point of safety. let me also say this. when it comes to financial deregulation, and, of course, tonight we are going to be talking about the wall street reform act and about accountability. the fact is is that it was during the bush administration that the climb on foreclosures began, and we saw 2.8 million people face foreclosure in the
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very -- last year we've seen folks and we have not -- foreclosures and we have not seen an anti-predatory lending. they did not do anything about foreclosures. they did not do anything about predatory lending. they did not do anything about 228 mortgages where people will be encouraged and persuaded to sign these fine print, no-doc, low-doc mortgages which at the end of the teaser rate period see these mortgages explode and they see themselves in foreclosure. the fact is that it's democrats who have taken the bull by the horns and who have begin to set the ship of state upright and bring the american economy back to wealth and we have seen an increase in the gross domestic product. we have seen increases in the number of jobs and decrease in the rate of unemployment under
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the democrats. thank goodness we're here on the verge, hopefully, to pass wall street reform to really put the american economy back in the shape it deserves to be in. i yield back to the gentleman. mr. garamendi: mr. ellison, thank you very much for pointing out the history of the great 2008 collapse. you saw those enormous job losses that were occurring during the bush period and then the low but steady number of jobs lost so now we're in a situation where we're seeing jobs being added. we don't see the unemployment rate come down as we would like to, but we're on the correct road and we're making great progress on that. i'd like to ask my colleague to join us and carry on this discussion, if you would. >> thank you, congressman garamendi, very much, your taking the leadership on this issue which is so critically important. there is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there about
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what's gone on in terms of the financial markets. i happen to sit on the financial services committee so i've seen firsthand what we've been able to do in terms of structuring a fix on wall street and what happened on wall street. mr. driehaus: but it would be just a mistake to talk about the fix without talking about the history. and far too often the republicans would have us believe that all of this history begin in january of 2009, when barack obama took the oath of office and when we took the oath of office. the facts are far different, and i think it's important to help voters and folks out there to better understand exactly how we got to where we are. i remember as a state legislator where i served in the ohio house from 2001 to 2008 that this issue of predatory lending, this issue of foreclosures came up over and over again. i pushed governor strickland to
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create a foreclosure task force in the state of ohio and i was proud to serve on that task force, but what we realized way before the task force was formed was that so many of these problems were federal in nature. they were federal in scope, yet, the federal government was doing very little to regulate wall street, to regulate the mortgage industry. and my colleague, mr. ellison, mentioned predatory lending and the failure to enact predatory lending legislation. i'll remind the viewers and i'll remind this body, mr. speaker, that it was in 2000 that congresswoman stephanie tubbs jones -- god rest her soul -- from ohio passed legislation here in the house and they could have enacted that in 2000. they could have enacted it in 2001, in 2002, in 2003, in 2004, in 2005, in 2006, every
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year she brought forward legislation concerning predatory lending because she understood the impact this was having in neighborhoods across ohio and across the country. yet, they failed to act. but we knew that these things were being created on wall street, like mortgage-backed securities, and credit default swaps which backed up the mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations which backed those up which the vast majority of people had no idea that these things even existed much less what they were doing. but what we soon found out was that these mechanisms on wall street were allowing for the bubble to occur, and then led to the collapse when we found out what was actually contained in them. and if i can for just a minute, congressman, talk about how the risk was shifted because this is fundamental to what happened. you know, years ago you would go to a savings and a lot, you
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would go to a bank and you would try to get a mortgage on your house. the risk would be shared between the financial institution and the homeowner. and they would hold on to the paper, the financial institution would hold on to that mortgage and that would be part of their investment portfolio, but that's not what happened in the 2000's. what happened in the early 2000's when investment vehicles were created on wall street, that no longer required that banker, that savings and a lot to hold on to that paper, they sold it immediately. they sold it immediately onto a secondary market that was created. these things were then brought together in thousands of mortgages called mortgage-backed securities, and they were then sold to international investors, to pension funds, to all kinds of entities. in the meantime, the rating agencies were rating these things at a.a.a. despite the fact that many of the mortgages contained in these packages
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were bad mortgages. oftentimes they were two or three-year adjustable rate mortgages to subprime borrowers and subprime borrowers simply means they have a poor history of paying back in the first place. so what behavior did this incentivize? well, at the front end i'll tell you what it incentivized? you have mortgage brokers and financial entities going out there trying to qualify anybody they possibly could for a mortgage at the highest prices they could possibly get because the money was no longer -- and holding onto the paper -- it was no longer the property value of the home. it was at the close of the deal. and if it's at the close of the deal, you are going to close as many deals as you possibly can. that's why they were qualifying people that never should have qualified. now, i heard a lot of my colleagues come down here and blame the community
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reinvestment act over and over again. you listen to the conservative talk radio. they say that banks were forced to lend into these neighborhoods. the banks were forced to make bad loans. now, i've never come across a bank that didn't have the power to say no to a loan. but they would have you believe that it was the banks that were forced to do this because the community reen investment -- reinvestment act. first, the community reinvestment act was established in 1977. so if the community reinvestment act was the problem, you would think that maybe we would have seen this in the 1980's and the 09's but we didn't because the community -- 1990's but we didn't because it provided incentives for financial institutions to go into neighborhoods were there were depositors in those financial institutions but folks who weren't qualifying for loans because they had red
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lists -- red listed entire areas. they were required to go into the neighborhoods and make good loans. if i can refer to ben bernanke in a letter of november 25, 2008, said this. he's responding to one of our senate colleagues. thank you for your letter of october 24, 2008, requesting the board's view on claims that the community reinvestment act is to blame for the subprime meltdown and current mortgage foreclosure situation. we are aware of such claims but have not seen any empirical evidence presented to support them. our own experience with c.r.a. over more than 30 years and the recentage soifs available data, including data on subprime loan performance runs counter to the charge that c.r.a. was at the root of or others contributed in any -- or otherwise contributed in any substantive
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way to these problems. the fact is, over 80% of the bad loans that went into default that caused the foreclosure crisis, over 80% were from financial entities and nonfinancial entities that didn't even participate in the community reinvestment act. mr. garamendi: you raised a very, very important point. it's the history of all howe all of this came to pass, about a mortgage industry that had run amok that had engaged in predatory pricing and predatory mortgages and selling products, mortgages and loans they knew the homeowner could not possibly afford, maybe during the teaser rate period, but when that teaser rate was over in a year or two and the ray readjusted and reset, it was all other. -- all over. that's the history of what was going on. it was wall street and its minions out there throughout the united states, the mortgage
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companies, that were all playing part of this game. it comes down to basic american values that were not honor the basic american vasm you work hard, get a wage, you can get a home. but in this case, they were selling people products and mortgages that no way could they possibly ape pord -- afford. and they had no skin in the game. they had no ongoing obligations. you explained it so well, mr. driehaus, it comes back to certain values. wall street's value was greed is good. that's not an american value. that's a unique wall street value. greed is not good. greed leads to some real serious problems. you go back through all the writing in the bible and other religious writings through themy lena, greed is not good, folks. yet wall street was engaged in that very un-american practice
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of extraordinary greed, unbridled greed that led to the creation of these bogus and unsubstan shated mortgage instruments. -- unsubstan shated mortgage instruments that were, by their own admission, the guy that created them used some extraordinary language telling you these were monsters, these were things that were unintelligible, couldn't be understood and couldn't be priced, yet that was wall street. why did they do it? they did it because they wanted the money. they played the games. this was a chart used last night by congresswoman jackie speier as she explained one of the things you talked about, mr. driehaus, how goldman sachs would create a mortgage-backed security. in fact this one didn't even have mortgages backing it. it was totally ephemeral. it was a figment of the
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imagination of wall street bankers. they created this thing and down here at the bottom, these were the less risky portions of it. each of these are traunches. this was a rated, very good strength. down here at the bottom, pure junk, they managed to get the rating houses, standard and poors and other rating houses to say, well, maybe this piece of junk is actually of some value if we go back and look not at the ability of the mortgage -- the home oner to pay but rather the fico score. they did and they rated it as an a, then sold it to unsuspecting investors and the result was, at the end of the day, junk is junk and the thing collapsed. so we had the great collapse of 2008. what do we do about it now? how do we go about dealing with this?
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you mentioned the community reinvestment act. i was insurance commissioner in california for eight years. i watched the banks use the community reinvestment act to bring bank offices and branch into the underserved community, it ended red lining, it's a good law if only the insurance industry had the a similar law to provide insurance in those communities. but it doesn't. the community reinvestment act isn't to blame here. greed and unbridled greed is the problem. to our republican friends that ranted for the previous hour about government regulation, we need it. serious government regulation in wall street. let's talk about where we go from here. mr. driehaus: i think it's a good point, congressman. there was no regulation. there was no regulation of mortgage-backed securities. there was no regulation of credit default swaps. when folks get up and say, we have enough relationlation on
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wall street, there may be regulation but the regulation was in the wrong place. so if you look at the bill that came through the house, when it comes to regulatory reform we focused on some sound principles. first, the creation of the consumer financial protection agency, an independent agency that provides consumers with information, good information, about the products they're being offered. now this isn't a crazy idea. you know, we often said in the state of ohio you were safer purchasing a toaster than a home loan because you had more consumer protections purchasing a toaster. that's true. you have consume brother texts when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. you have consume brother texts if you purchase toys for your kids. but you don't have those same consume brother texts when it comes to a home loan. mr. garamendi: that's in the bill that you and the other members of the financial services committee put together, it was voted on here in this -- on this floor, in
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december, as i recall. i had the pleasure of being elected in november. i was here for that vote. very, very important. i'm going to just put this up here and maybe the three of us together can refer to this as we go on. right there, number one. consumer protection watchdog with teeth. i know, mr. ellison, you were talking to me earlier about some of these things. mr. ellison: if the gentleman will yield, i want to say, this is an excellent list and really helps listeners to sort of zero in on some of the key features we'll elaborate on right now. let me give my own take on consumer protection. there are about seven different agencies that had some responsibility for consumer protection. the federal reserve bank for one. actually, 1995, congress passed a law that said that the fed could regulate in the area of mortgage lending and they didn't do so. what this consumer protection
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agency would do is to say, you know what? we're not going to spread the responsibility so that everybody says, well, i thought somebody else was going to do it. what we do is we concentrate and say we hold this agency responsible for consumer protection. the fed arks you know is responsible for monetary policy and responsibility for unemployment, keeping unemployment the economy full of employment, has responsibility for consume brother text. what we're saying is that it makes sense for an agency who will have the responsibility for rule making with regard to consumer protection, enforcement of consume brother text rules and examination of companies that have a response to believe the comply to make sure that one -- that if you are going to sell a product, a financial product, a loan, that the terms are clear.
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that people understood the terms. -- that people understand the terms that people know what they're getting into. that's there's transparency, that there's real information a person can make a good decision on. also, there may be products that are completely and patently unfair that consumers ought to be able to not have to be able to be part of. let me say, before i yield to the gentleman, there's something going on here when we do financial transactions known as the information asymmetry. let's face it, folks. i'm a 46-year-old man. i've bought only one house in my life. i've been at a -- i've been at a closing once and only once. i happen -- i went to college, even went to law school, i was a state legislator. i am no match no match at all for somebody who wants to sell me a mortgage that maybe i don't want. the terms and conditions are just too opaque, it's too much information if you've ever been
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to closing, it's signing documents one right after the other. we need a consumer protection agency that will say, look, this has to be a fair transaction this has to be disclosed, it needs to be clear that way we may be able to have some good decision making and better decision making on behalf of consumers. i yield back. mr. garamendi: mr. driehaus? mr. driehaus: i appreciate that. spicking up on that point, the cfpa is critical to giving consumers information but if you go down to number five, strerntening community banks. so much of the problem occurred outside of the financial institutions in the first place. many of the subprime mortgages, many of these bad loans didn't originate with community banks. the community banks were doing the right thing. there was no regulation of the behavior of these nonfinancial entities system of for the first time, the cfpa will step in and provide regulation over the product itself. so it doesn't matter how you
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structure your entity to avoid regulation, the regulation will come in the form of the product. so if you're offering a consumer product which is determined to be a bad product for consumers, you will be pointed -- prohibited from offering that, regardless of the type of entity you are. this is important. because you know, banks are very wary of regulators, for good reason. especially community banks, who have regulators coming in all the time to make sure safety and soundness is being complied with and to make sure that consumers are being treated fairly. what the cfpa gets at isn't additional burdens on community banks but going after those previously nonregulated entities to make sure they are following the law and that the products they are offering are fair and that the disclosures they are providing are clear, they're transparent and consumers know what they're getting themselves into. mr. ellison: could i ask the
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gentleman a question? i'll ask both gentlemen a question. if these consumer protection agency is going to actually provide regulation to nonbank lenders, most of whom generated these subprime and predatory loans, will that help community banks by taking away the competitive advantage some of these unregulated lenders have? i yield. mr. driehaus: yes, i believe it will absolutely strengthen community banks. as you know, many community banks were provided additional protections, mr. speaker, by making sure that the cfpa was only part of the regulatory structure when we went into community banks so we didn't place yet an additional burden in terms of an examination on that community financial institution. so i believe this is an additional protection. for far too long, these entities were existing outside of a regulated marketplace,
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which put community banks, the guys doing the right things, the guys so many of us rely upon and lend to small businesses, lend to, you know, people trying to purchase their homes, they were at a competitive disadvantage. this really does strengthen those community banks because it forces everybody to have an even playing field. mr. garamendi: it's really very, very important we focus on community banks. this is main street. this is where the small businessman, the man and woman that own the local grocery store, the shop, the person who is the carpenter, the painter, this is where they'll get the money they immediate, the loan they need to carry on their business. it's the community banks. but what's happened in america over the last decade is a concentration of economic strength in the hands of just a few, a very, very few of the
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large banks, wall street banks, now control 80% or more of the american financial strength. we need to take that into account. not only because it will give the community banks an opportunity to compete and have capital available to them so that they can make those loans, but also because of this problem of too big to fail. too big to fail. that's what happened over the course from 2000, maybe beginning in the 1990's, until 2008 when the great collapse occurred, the banks grew bigger and bigger and fewer and fewer so that at one point, just a handful controlled most of the financial assets of america, and they grossly mismanaged those assets. a.i.g. a famous name, lehman brothers, another bankrupt company. all the games they played, those roosters came home to roost and the droppings were on american homeowners and the
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hardworking men and women of america that lost their jobs as a result of wall street excesses, so now what are we going to do about too big to fail. the senate that is mao to moving a piece of legislation -- that is now moving a piece of legislation that would accompany the house bill which we passed four months ago, that piece of legislation maybe amended to say that no -- may be amended to say that no financial institution in america can control more than 10% of the financial strength of this nation. that is something i really like. back in college i learned about the need for exretugs -- competition. i took an economics class. you have to have competition, you've got to have a lot of players, you've got to have a robust free market. we don't really that have that in the financial institutions anymore because they've grown too big. well, if we just make them a little smaller, you get the 10%, i'm sorry, you're going to have to shed some business, we'll have to have others pick up the rest of it. but this too big to fail is part
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of the reform bill, exactly how it's going to come out of the senate, we don't know for sure but it's certainly going to deal with this issue. mr. ellison, i know that you worked on this and please pick up. mr. ellison: i'm glad to talk about this issue of too big to fail. and either the gentleman from ohio or california want to elaborate, i -- i'd just like to pose both of you gentlemen a question, and that is, if some banks are too big to fail, are there then other banks that are too small to save? i yield back. >> that's an interesting question. -- mr. garamendi: that's an interesting question. clearly we have institutions that are too big to fail and that's where the tarp legislation that was the last act, one of the last acts of the bush administration, came into being. the treasury secretary, mr. paulson, who actually was the c.e.o. of goldman sachs, as i recall, came to this house, came to the senate and said, oh, my,
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oh, my, the world's going to collapse unless you immediately cough up $1 trillion to the banks to stabilize the banks. fortunately this house said, wait a minute, let's see what we're doing here. instead of a one-page bill, giving the treasury department $1 trillion, the tarp program was put in place. and it did stabilize the financial institutions. but it was a clear sign that the financial -- that wall street banks had become too big. a.i.g. how much have they taken? $200 billion, $300 billion of our money? are we going to get it back? we don't know. mr. dry house, if you'll carry on here. i now you were involved in that tarp legislation and share with us. mr. driehaus: getting back to the issue of too big to fail, i think this is really a critical issue for people to get their arms around.
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you know, i think it's important that we have strong capital markets. that the private sector works well in providing capital to allow our businesses to grow, to allow people to invest in the economy. that's critically important. but the issue of too big to fail really comes back to our responsibility. because when an entity is too big to fail, then it suggests that they go well beyond losses that might just impact the shareholders or losses that might just impact the owners or the employees of a business. but in fact it impacts all of us. well, we then have a responsibility so that when the harm that's caused by these institutions is so great that it impacts the public good, then the united states congress has a responsibility. in this case the foreclosure -- case, the foreclosure crisis, not only have we seen the greatest recession in our lifetimes, but we've seen neighborhoods devastated by foreclosures all across this country.
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certainly in the state of ohio where i come from. the cost is enormous. that's not being repaid by goldman sachs, lehman brothers isn't around to do it, you know, the big investment firms on wall street aren't there when we're having crime in our neighborhoods due to the foreclosures. it's the residents and the local governments that are left to pick up the pieces. that's what we mean by too big to fail. so, never again will we allow an entity to get so big that its failure will cause such a calamity, not just through the economy but to our neighborhoods, to our communities and obviously to jobs across the country. so we've put peckism ins in place to prohib -- mechanisms in place to prohibit entities from becoming that large and if they're so large that this collapse would have this tremendous impact we provide for a provision to allow the fed to wind them down and allow treasury to wind them down.
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not a taxpayer expense, but at their own expense. and at the expense of financial entities who are contributing to a pool. we don't believe in the government bailouts, we're trying to put an end to government bailouts and what we are trying to do is allow these to be dissolved in a way that's fiscally responsible. that's what we mean by ending too big to fail. i yield back. mr. garamendi: that's a very, very important point about how things will move forward. it's also extraordinarily difficult for me to understand the republican party and this matter. on the senate side at the moment it looks as though they want to maintain the status quo. they want to maintain business as usual. and that business as usual took this economy and nearly the entire world's economy into the tank. we need change. we need to put in place the reforms so that these kinds of
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financial meltdowns don't occur again and too big to fail, the use of processes within the government to unwind those companies that are too big, bring them back to size when they're in financial trouble, unwind it and to bring us back to some sane situation, there are a couple of other things that are in this thing that are really important. this number three here of the kinds of reforms that the democrats want to put forward, stop wall street firms from betting against their customers. and also, wall street's not a gambling house. wall street isn't the shore of new jersey or las vegas. wall street is the -- is where the financial strength of this nation and indeed the world should be based on fundamental american values of fair play, of honesty, of no games, straight forwardness, of visibility --
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straightforwardness, of visibility of what is going on. so, we've seen far too much of wall street hiding the ball, of gambling as though they were some casino in las vegas and creating products and selling products that they know are detrimental to their customers' well-being, their financial well-being. so this is part of the reform that's going to go into place when the republicans and the senate -- in the senate finally allow the senate to move forward with its reform. i know you were involved here in the house as you took up this issue, mr. driehaus, share with us, if you would, some of the things that took place that are in the house reform. mr. driehaus: i think it's critically important, as you move through this list, to help people better understand exactly what it is that we're doing. and one of the big issues that comes up time and time again is the issue of transparency. because transparency was a big problem. it wasn't that, you know, the regulations didn't necessarily
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exist on some of these products but people didn't know what was in the products. and so the wall street banks were intentionally hiding the risk associated with some of these derivative products. and derivatives, by their very nature, are derived from other capital. but they're critically important, they're critically important to our system, to our economic system, because they provide capital investment that creates jobs in our economy. so we don't want to stop derivatives. we want to create investment vehicles. derivatives are ok, but these investment vehicles need to be transparent. that's all we're asking through the legislation is that the risk associated with the product be clear. so that the people investing in these products know the risk associated with their investment. this is basic, this is basic finance. people being asked to invest in products should know the risk
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associated with those investments. that's what we're trying to achieve through the regulatory reform bill. mr. garamendi: it's one of those basic american values that wall street seemed to have forgotten and the republican party seems to want to continue to be absent from wall street. and that is honesty, transparency, that is explain what this product is all about, and also the requirement that when you're selling something in a financial institution you have the obligation of good faith to your customer. that you're being honest. a fundamental american value that was largely forgotten by wall street. and as this reform goes into place i think we will see it return because it will be the law. and sometimes you simply have to say, you have to change because the law now requires you to be honest, to be straightforward, to be transparent, that is, to explain your product. i notice that we've now been joined by your colleague from
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ohio, the gentlewoman, ms. kaptur, -- kaptur, and she has a chart that goes right to the heart of this. if you would, please, share with us. and we yield to you. ms. kaptur: thank you very much. i appreciate the gentleman yielding this evening and i thank you both for sponsoring this special order. part of our responsibility is to restore trust in the most important financial institutions in our country, restore trust of the american people in those, and to change the laws in order to make sure that that trust in our capital markets and in our banking system is restored. we're a long way from doing that and financial reform is a part of it. and i hope that the bill improves as it moves through the senate. but the chart that i brought to the floor tonight, and this is just one chart, we would like unanimous consent to put in the record a c.b. -- cbs news
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investigates goldman sachs' revolving door with a full list of individuals just from that company. there are many other companies but the kind of incredible power that they wield in this city, if you just look at goldman sachs, and then at people from goldman sachs who came to work for the government of the united states in the highest positions, you begin to question whether they were representing the public interest or their personal interest in many of the dealings that occurred on wall street. so, for example, you have an individual during the last administration that worked for president bush by the name of joshua bolten. he was the president's chief of staff during the time when the tarp was voted through this congress and the bailout in the fall of 2008. he had been the director of o.m.b. through most of the bush administration. but what a lot of people don't know is that before that he had been the executive director of legal affairs for goldman sachs
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based in london, that is the bank's chief lobbyist to the european union. so when you look at the collapse of institutions in europe, whether it was in germany or a counterparty in the a.i.g. insurance situation, those deals were brokered through london and there he sat for the whole decade of the 1990's, putting together the architecture that then collapsed in this decade. but he's not alone. but it's important that people understand, this didn't just start in 2007 or 2008 or 2005. the pieces were put together starting in the 1980's. and then the foundation stones and all the regulatory changes were made that allowed this type of hyperinflation of the housing market and the pyramiding of equity to a point that it simply couldn't hold. these men were a part of that.
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if you look at the former secretary of treasury in the past administration, before president obama, during president clinton, he had come from goldman sachs, robert ruben, and he was secretary of the treasury from 1995 to 1999 when some of the deregulation was done. but they all go back to goldman sachs. that's the beehive. the bees come out, they go somewhere else and then they come back. we have to begin to unpeel this and unwind this and understand who these individuals are. we heard the name of hank paulson who is secretary of the treasury during the period of time that the bailout was voted and he was the c.e.o. of goldman sachs. so they come in, collect a little bit of honey, and then they go back. and what the american people have to understand is, what exactly did this they do? who made these -- did they do? who made the decisions? now we have the chief of staff to the secretary of treasury, guess where he came from? goldman sachs. and the recent general council
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from the white house, mr. craig, he left the white house, where did he go? goldman sachs. so it rises above party. we have to stand up for what's right for america and we have to unwind these private interests that have vaused -- that have caused such harm to our country. mr. garamendi: thank you very much. that history is not a good chapter in america and these men that were involved in all of this, to whom do they owe their alenals? i've said many times, it's about the fundamental american values. i know in my community, a small community in california of farmers and hardworking men and women, that they go to work every day and they expect to be paid a fair wage, but they don't expect to make that wage by cheating somebody, by playing a financial game. they expect to make it by working hard and caring -- carrying on for their family. mr. driehaus, if you would share with us some of the additional experiences that you had on the financial services committee. .
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mr. driehaus: i would just share with you and share with everyone here that the reality is is that from a legislative standpoint, nothing has changed, despite the fact that we are in the worst recession that we have ever experienced. we all know what caused this. we know how we got here. we know the lack of regulation on these financial instruments caused the mortgage meltdown. but nothing has changed. we passed a good bill out of the house. mr. garamendi: back in december. mr. driehaus: a good bill that had a lot of measures. subsequent after that, went it over to the senate, there has been stalling by the republican senators and closed-door meetings by the republicans and democrats both here in washington and wall street because the financial firms on
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wall street like the status quo. we have seen that process. they are back to the days of big bonuses. but our neighborhoods are still struggling. our neighborhoods are still trying to get out of the foreclosure crisis that has impacted them. and it's going to be years before they come out of that crisis. it's the most important thing that we can do here. it's to make sure that this never happens again. but our republican colleagues in the senate are standing in the way. at least here, the republicans have voted no. but they couldn't stop the process from moving forward. we as a congress have an obligation to the people. we as a congress have an obligation to the people to ensure that the crisis that we found ourselves in never happens again. we do that through strong regulatory reform. we have passed a strong measure
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in the house. we're waiting upon the senate to tell the american people that we won't let this happen again. that is our responsibility. and that's what we need to impress upon people as we move forward. enough of the closed-door meetings with wall street. it's time to act on behalf of our constituents. mr. garamendi: let's be very clear that those closed-door meetings were the leadership of the republican party, sitting down with wall street and talking about how to preserve the present system that led to this great collapse. you said something that just ticked me off, not at you but at the situation. and it's the wall street bonuses. at a time when hard-working men and women, more than eight million americans were losing their jobs as a result of the financial games of wall street,
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eight million, in my district, tens of thousands of men and women that worked every single day to put bread on their table, to keep the roof over their head, lost their jobs because wall street was playing financial games, thinking of the financial market as some sort of gambling casino, while my constituents were losing their houses, losing their jobs, forced to go on unemployment. losing their health insurance. what was going on wall street? here it is. wall street was paying some of the highest salaries and bonuses ever in american history. in 2007, before the collapse, look at that, $137 billion, $137 billion in pay and bonuses during the great collapse. in 2008, when 750,000 people
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were losing their jobs every month, wall street was paying its fat cats $123 billion. in 2009, using the recovery money, using our taxpayer money, what did wall street do? they paid themselves $145 billion. there ought to be a law. in fact, there ought to be a tax law that says when you get a fat-cat bonus and we're going to tax that bonus and bring it back, bring it back to the local bank so they can make a real loan to real businesses and put aside the financial gains. there ought to be a tax on those kinds of unconscionable bonuses and pays that are going to these wall street fat cats that nearly
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brought down the world's financial economy. there ought to be a law, and that law is being held up by the republican party. and we need wall street reform right now. ms. kaptur: would the gentleman yield? i want to compliment you and congressman driehaus of ohio for putting this information on the record. i think it's important to state that at the beginning of the financial crisis, these large institutions, the six of them that are the most culpable, jp morgan-chase, morgan stanley, wells fargo, citigroup, goldman sachs had one-third of the assets in those institutions and while taking those bonuses and while this nation has gone through the terrible washout, they command 66%, they've doubled the size and their importance inside this economy. while they are taking the
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horrendous bonuses, states like my own are losing banks, banks that didn't do any wrong are having to pay. we don't know if some of them will make it, but they are taking over this economy. and look at what they have done. mr. garamendi: like huge dinosaurs. did you say at the beginning of this crisis in 2007, they had a third of the financial assets? and today the largest five have over 60%? ms. kaptur: 66%. mr. garamendi: now we have a serious problem called too big to fail. now we are in a serious problem and i want to refer back to this chart that we were using before and we have to, and the legislation does deal with this issue of too big to fail. we passed a good bill here in december but on the senate side, there are some senators that are progressive and thinking about
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this and they're saying, wait a minute. maybe we should limit to 10%, no company can have more than 10% of the total assets. when you get that big, that's it. you have to shed some assets and someone else has to pick it up. we have seen even more concentration in wall street. we can't wait any longer for the reforms. we can't wait any longer. america can't wait any longer. how many more are going to lose their job as wall street continually declines to provide loans to main street? let's take a look at some of the facts about that. and i know -- well, i heard you in one of our discussions talk about this and the effect in your community in ohio, men and women, the small businesses, their inability to get loans. ms. kaptur: i heard that this weekend. i went into a bakery and the owner said i could hire three
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more people and add machines, but i can't get operating loans from the bank and credit is frozen across this country because there are these big giant inefficient institutions and credit needs to be more decentralized and need more financial institutions and the financial reforms that this congress should pass should go to that level to restore robust, competitive, financial systems in this country. and by the way, we not only have to make the future better, we have to go back and catch the crooks that put us on this path. and i have a bill that would add agents to the f.b.i., s.e.c. and fdic in order to fully investigate and go after these big institutions, because what happened after 9/11 was that the white-collar crime division of the f.b.i. was reduced to 75
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investigators, 75. the s.e.c. has 25 going after the largest financial institutions in this country. we need to both on the civil side and the criminal side, investigate and prosecute. when you have this level of implosion in an economy and lots of few people are getting rich and everybody else is suffering, doesn't that tell you that something was fundamentally wrong? some people say it was rigid, that control fraud may be, in fact, riddled through the system from the top down to every community we represent. h.r. 3995 would add 1,000 more agents and beef up prosecution in this country. mr. garamendi: just before we took the floor here for this discussion, i was listening to our republican colleagues say that government regulation is wrong. well, no, not in the case of wall street. the statistics you just gave us,
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did you say the f.b.i. had 75 agents for all of the united states to deal with wall street? at a time when wall street giants were going from their 33% to 66%? and 30-some people for the securities and exchange commission? i hope your bill passes. we need watchdogs. we need watchdogs with teeth that are needed to bite into the arrogance and greed of wall street. we need those people to watch and make sure that the financial rip-office that occurred that nearly took down this nation's economy and the world's economy with it and put hardworking men and women that were out on the production lines, that were building the homes in my community, farmers, they're out of work. they are unemployed.
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why? because of the extraordinary greed, arrogance and mismanagement of wall street. thinking that the financial institutions of america are nothing more than a las vegas as casino, where a bet is placed on a product that they could not even describe. enough already. enough already. the republican party has got to come to its senses and give us the opportunity to pass a strong financial reform of wall street. the people in my district, my homeowners, my small businesses are trying to get a loan at a time when we're seeing more and more concentration of power in wall street. ms. kaptur: would the gentleman yield? what is unbelievable is the public relations on this because companies like goldman sachs have lobbying offices here in
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washington to hire people to try to convince us that the real is unreal. and what we are they're saying is this isn't our fault, it's the fault of those americans down there who lost their jobs and they may not be able to pay their mortgages, right? wait a minute. why did they lose their jobs and why can't unemployment benefits be used in the interim to help people stay in their homes for the next year until we can try to get this economy to recover? and so the very institutions that are not working out loans at the local level and making billions and billions and billions of dollars more in profits and in bonuses are saying to us, oh, it's not our fault, it's the fault of the american people who wanted to own a house. it's really their problem they got put out of work when these institutions aren't loaning money to our small businesses, not doing mortgage workouts at the local level, they aren't
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taking any principal right down which they could do in an fdic regulatory process. they aren't serious. they aren't even returning calls to our realtors at the local level. we are trying to reach accommodation on short sales. we have been trying to do that for two years. they are standing up the realtors across this country as we get more and more foreclosures. we have to focus on the big fix. mr. garamendi: the big fix is available. the big fix is to reform wall street, to stop the kind of greed that has nearly destroyed this nation's economy and the world economy along with it. the bill that was passed by the house of representatives in desist a good strong bill. the -- in desist a good strong bill. if you don't want to work towards a decent reform, get out
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of the way and let the democratic party put in place a strong reform that will bring wall street to its senses and make wall street a legitimate, honest, transparent place where the financial inner workings can take place. that's our plea and we need to have it done, not next month. we need to have it done this week. thank you so much. i yield back my time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? >> mr. speaker, to ask unanimous consent to address the house for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: without objection.. mr. gingrey: thank you, mr. speaker. i bobby cox is an icon in the management profession and after giving selflessly to the braves
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for over 25 years, i want to congratulate him on his retirement at the end of this season. mr. speaker, i'm proud that he is my constituent in the 11th congressional district of northwest georgia. a lifetime man of the game, bobby played in both the minor and major leagues for 12 years. at the age of 30 he retired as a player and launched a coaching career which will go down in history as one of the best in the game. bobby's first coaching job allowed him to manage the braves, but he left atlanta in 1982 to work with the toronto blue jace. bobby realized -- blue jays. bobby realized success quickly in toronto as he led the blue jays to the american league east crown in 1985. for these efforts he was named major league manager of the year by the baseball writers'
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association of america, the associated press and supporting -- sporting news. after his winning seasoning in toronto, bobby returned to georgia to work with the braves again in 1985. this time as general manager. it was then that he began creating a baseball empire, by restructuring the team from the farm system up through the major leagues. in the 1990's he was back in the dugout as manager of the braves and he led them to five national league pennants, one world series championship and 14 consecutive division titles. he was named manager of the year once again and to this day he's still the only coach to win manager of the year in both the american and national leagues. bobby has won over 2,000 games
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and is the all-time winningest coach in braves history. bobby has made a name for himself amongst his players by being a true player's coach and always going to bat for his team and his players. that passion and love for the game have earned him another distinction, mr. speaker, the all-time record for the most ejections from the game. mr. speaker, bobby's skills, dedication and attitude will be missed in both the braves' dugout and in the stadiums wherever the braves have played. he will continue to assist the organization by advising the minor league teams in the atlanta area. bobby's imprint on the atlanta braves organization will undoubtedly be remembered and revered for years to come.
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thank you, mr. speaker, and with that i will yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. gingrey: i do yield back.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? mr. gingrey: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to adjourn the house. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is is agreed to.
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accordingly, the house stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
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>> and watch election results just before 5:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. >> c-span our public affairs content is available on television, radio and online and you can connect with us on twitter, facebook and youtube and sign up for our scheduled alert emails at c-span.org. >> house appropriations committee chairman david obey announced his retirement today. the wisconsin democrat was first elected to congress in 1969. he speaks to reporters about his decision for about 40 minutes. >> good afternoon, everybody.
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before i start. i want to introduce the happiest woman in wisconsin at this point. [laughter] >> my wife joan. [applause] >> i deeply resent that. that is more applause than i usually get. next, my son doug. [applause] >> my son craig. [applause]
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>> doug's wife kate. [applause] >> and craig's wife kirsten. [applause] >> this is going to be a long statement, longer than the press would like, but after 42 years, i think i've earned it. in december, i will have been in public service for 48 years, over six in the wisconsin state legislature and almost 42 in the u.s. congress. i have served in the house longer than anybody in wisconsin history. god and my constituents have been incredibly good to me. when i was a kid growing up, i didn't dream i would have 1/10 of the opportunities that have come my way. i hope i used those opportunities for the most that could be done for the causes, better schools, affordable
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health care, expanded education in health care, veterans -- health care benefits for veterans, research to fight diseases like cancer, diabetes and parkinson's, cleaner air, and water and preservation of our national parks and public places. the people of northern wisconsin have given me the honor and privilege of representing them in dealing with the great issues of our time ranging from vietnam to watergate to the iranian hostage crisis, iran-contra, two gulf wars and budget reform, government shutdown, 9/11 and the economic meltdown of the past decade. for a decade as chairman of the foreign operations
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subcommittee, i had the privilege of helping to lead the efforts to meet our responsibilities to our fellow human beings around the globe to share this planet with us, but do not necessarily share our same good fortune. during that time, we consistently moved forward money away from support of military dictators through the expansion of long-term development activities and through programs like unicef contributed to saving millions of children's lives. i'm proud of the role i played in resisting american col nationalism in central america, working with james baker, jim wright, joe moakley and tom folely to end the war in nicaraugua. the most important role that that subcommittee played was the bipartisan work we did with the george bush foundation and
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lawrence eagle berger helping countries transition to western capitalist democracies after the fall of the berlin wall and the collapse of the soviet union. although it happened a long time ago, i'm proud of the losing fight that i helped wage with congressman royce and udall against the irresponsible reagan budgets that cut taxes at the same time the defense budget was being doubled, all paid for with borrowed money, more than tripling the long-term budget deficit picture. the budget at the time was a progressive alternative to the budgets of both parties which spent less, borrowed less and produced smaller deficits than either the democratic or republican-based bills. and won the support of majority of democrats. at the time, our actions were
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hugely unpopular, about 70% of the voters in my district at the time supported reagan's budget but time has proven us right. today, i'm similarly proud that i was the principal author of the absolutely essential economic recovery act of 2009, which in the midst of the deepest and most dangerous economic catastrophe in 70 years has pumped desperately needed purchasing power into the economy to curbon the fall and reduce the number of families whose bread winners were thrown out of work. when it was passed last year, the american economy was losing 700,000 jobs per month. last month by contrast, the economy added 162,000 jobs, the largest increase in three years. that corner could not have been turned without the recovery act. my only apology is that it should have been larger, but it
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was the most that the system would bear at the time. i'm especially pleased to have also had the privilege of presiding over the house when it passed the historic health insurance reform legislation just about a month ago. i have been waiting for that moment for 41 years and its arrival finally made all the frustrations of public life worth it. during my congressional service, i have tried to do what i could to keep us out of misguided wars and i fought to reform political institutions, especially the congress to improve the quality of their work and to strengthen public confidence in them. and despite the misguided and disastrously destructive decisions of the u.s. supreme court that have put the system of american elections on the auction block, i have worked to limit the influence of private money in elections that by
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definition should be public events. i think that along the way, i have made a difference for the district and the state that i represent and for the country. but there's a time to stay and a time to go and this is my time to go. frankly, i hate to do it. there is so much that needs to be done. but even more frankly, i am bone tired. when i first put my name on the ballot for the state assembly in 1962, i was 23 years old. now 48 years later, i will soon be 72. when i went to congress in 1969, i was the youngest member of the house of representatives. as you can tell by looking at me, i'm not any more. since that first day in 1962, i have gone through 25 elections and engaged in countless battles. i'm ready to turn the page and frankly, i think my district is
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ready for somebody new to make a fresh start, not somebody who poses as a fresh face, but who would in reality take us back to the good old days of bush tax cuts of the rich and misguided iraq war, not someone whose idea of a fresh idea is to say, let the markets do it, which translated, means, let the corporate elites, big banks and corporate big shots and insurance company c.e.o.'s doing anything they damn well please with no regulations to protect investors and consumers. there's nothing fresh about that. no, what the country deserves is for someone to step up to be counted on to put working people first, someone who will bring fresh eyes and fresh energy to the battle, someone who won't use slick words and an actor's ability to hide the
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fact that he is willing to gut and privatize social security and medicare and abandon working people to the arbitrary power to america's working elite. when i first ran, i wanted to do three things, make our economic system more fair for the poor and middle-class working families of this country. unfortunately, powerful economic and political forces have largely frustrated that effort. over the last 30 years, we have seen the largest transfer of income up the income scale. that's in the history of the country. in fact, for six straight years under george w. bush, over 90% of all the income growth in the country went into the pockets of the wealthiest 10% and the other 90% of the population, the regular people of this country got table scraps. i deeply regret not being able
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to do more to turn that around. that, and the inability of the political system to achieve the public financing of campaigns remained the biggest disappointments of my public life. my second goal was to expand support for education in order to expand opportunity for every american. that has been a hard slog, but especially in the last three years. we have been able to move large resources to do just that. this year, we enhanced federal support for student aid. it's not enough, but it's made a big difference. my third goal was to help move the country into the ranks of civilized nations by making it possible for almost every american to receive quality health care without begging. for years, frankly, i disspirited ever getting that done. last month, i had the great
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privilege of presiding over the house of representatives as it completed action on historic health insurance reform legislation. over the past few years, whenever a member of the press asked me if i was contemplating retirement, i would respond by saying that i did not want to leave congress until we passed health care reform. well, now it has. and i can leave with the knowledge that thanks to speaker pelosi and president obama and so many others, we got the job done. i haven't done all of the big things that i wanted to do when i started out, but i have done all of the big things that i'm likely to do. frankly, i have considered retiring after the 2000 election, but i became so angered by the policies of the bush administration, that i decided to stick around as long as they were here. in 2002, after a year-long
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struggle, which devoured my time and the time of my colleague jim sensenbrenner, i stated that i did not want to be around for another one, and yet that is exactly what i would face if i returned to congress next year. and i simply don't want to do that. many years ago, in an interview with rich cohen who i see is sitting here right now, i told him that the way i looked at public service, i believe the job of a good politician was to be used up, fighting on behalf of causes that you believed in and when you're used up, to step aside and let someone else carry on the battle. well, today, folks, i feel used up. in the last month, two colleagues, charlie wilson and jack murtha have died, both were 76. for me that's only four years away. at the end of this term, i will have served in the house longer
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than all but 18 of the 1,637 men and women who have ever served here. the wear and tear, believe you me, is beginning to take its toll. given that fact, i have to ask myself how i want to spend the time i have left. frankly, i don't know what i will do next. all i do know is that there has to be more to life than explaining the ridiculous accountability destroying rules of the united states senate -- [laughter] >> to confused, angry and frustrated constituents. [laughter] >> i absolutely believe that after the economy returns to a decent level of growth, we must attack our long-term budget deficit. but perhaps i expect too much, because in addition to an attack on the federal budget
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deficit, i also want to see an equal determination to attack the family security defendant, the family income deficit, and the opportunity deficit, which also plagued the american people. i'm frankly wary to having to beg on a daily basis that both parties recognize that we no favor to the country if we neglect to make the long-term investments in education, science, health and energy that are necessary to modernize our economy and at the same time decline to raise the revenue needed to pay for those crucial investments. i do not want to be in a position, as chairman of the appropriations committee, of producing and defending the lowest common denominator that is inadequate to the task and given the mood of the country.
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i'm also frankly increasingly wary of having to deal with the press which has become focused on trivia, driven at least in part by the financial collapse by the news industry and the need with the 24-hour news cycle to fill the air waves with hot air. i say that regretfully because i regard what is happening to the news profession nothing short of a national catastrophe which i know pains many quality journalists as much as it pains me. both those professions have been coursened in recent years and the nation is the loser for it. first, let me thank my wife joan who has put up with so much and endured so much that i plight follow my dream of public service. when she agreed to marry me, --
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she thought she was getting a history teacher. whatever done i have done i could not have done without her. let me thank my two sons, craig and douglas and their spouses, who have shared in the burden of public service. craig has spent his adult life trying to bring health care to people who needed it, trying to protect workers in the workplace and trying to protect our precious public lands from abuse by special interests and their mouth pieces in government and the congress itself. doug has spent his life as a working journalist, first covering capitol hill and then informing his readers about the realities of the politics of environmental protection and the interaction between science and politics on the profoundly important issue of global climate change. let me thank all of those who worked with me as staff through the years. those who worked in my district
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office in wisconsin and my personal office in washington, on the joint economic committee and on my appropriations committee. your ability, your did he sensey, your fierce loyalty to me are greatly appreciated. you have not just been my counselors, but my protectors and my understanding friends. let me thank those special friends who helped me get through 25 elections and everything that has happened in between. you know who you are. by giving me your political support, you sustained me through the precious and ups and downs of political and public life and i will not forget it. i hope you feel that your support helped to make possible whatever good i have done throughout the years. i'm especially grateful to the literally dozens of calls that started coming into my office this morning when people learned that i was doing what i'm doing. i'm especially grateful about
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my predecessor, mel laird called and talked for a good while. both of us are products of the kind of politics in which you may fight like the devil between 9:00 and 5:00 and go out and have a drink and be friends afterwards. i wish to god that that era was not already so far from the practical practices of today. let me also thank bob huber, frank, for teaching me how to be a legislator in mad ison and wisconsin and special thanks to nancy pelosi, whose heart, guts and soul have provided the steel necessary to accomplish some extraordinary things. let me also thank so many of my congressional colleagues, past
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and present, who have worked shoulder to shoulder with me in pursuit of so many causes, some won, some lost and on occasion forgiven me for my excessive passion. it has been said that in life, our strength can also be our weakness as i have demonstrated on more than one occasion. and let me profoundly thank everyone who has ever cast a vote for me, for the privilege of representing you many washington all these years. i want to say a special thanks to the staff because we have on the table this pakistan -- packet, some of the things that we have been able to do throughout the years. the fact is thatity was the staff that -- that it was the staff that largely made it possible and i appreciate their efforts profoundly.
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i hope that in whatever years i may have remaining, i will still find occasion to help move the needle forward. but for me, now after 48 years, it's time to pass the torch. i had planned to end this statement by doing a rendition of "god bless america" on my harmonica, but given the requests of the press, i decided to forego that and take a few of their questions instead. [applause]
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[applause] >> thank you. ok. thank you very much. >> some people might read into this that you are concerned about the re-election. do you dispel that? first time you had a real race? >> let me put it this way. i have won 25 elections. does anybody really think i don't know how to win another one or for that matter has anybody ever seen me walk away from a fight in my life? the fact is, there isn't a
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snowball chance in haiti of that congressional district electing someone who is a poor imtation of george bush's policies on a bad day. the fact is that i have been thinking of retiring -- [applause] >> as i said in my statement, i have been thinking of retiring for a long time and if george bush hadn't -- if i hadn't had a meeting at the white house that i had with george bush when we discussed homeland security matters after 9/11, if i hadn't experienced that meeting and experienced the absolute stubbornness of the bush administration on that occasion, i would have left this place a long time ago. when i got elected, i thought i was a one-term wonder and didn't think i would get re-elected. and i could not dream of being lucky enough to spend 25 years
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here, much less almost or over 40. and the fact is, as i've said, i'm just plain tired. there have been very few people in american history that have served in this institution longer than i have and i think that i need a change. i think my family needs me to have that change. and i simply don't want to have to go through another re-apportionment cycle, unless you have been through them, you don't know how time consuming theyr how frustrating they are. and i have already given you my expression of love and affection for the procedures of the united states senate. and i don't want to deal with that stuff anymore. it's just that simple. .
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and we had expected to go down to the white house and talk about them and so when the staff put them together, we looked at
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the list and then we said, staff, ok, now cut it in half so there's no garbage in here. then we took it down to the white house. and we were sitting around the cabinet table and the president walked in and he said, well, i understand some of you have -- want to spend more money than we've asked for homeland security. my good friend mitch daniels here, the budget director, tells me we've asked for more than enough money. and so i want to you understand, if you add a dollar to my budget i'm going to veto the bill. i've got time for a few questions, then i'm out of here, i've got another meeting. that was virtually what he said. and bob bird expressed to him what he thought about that -- thought about that approach. and so did ted stevens and ted said, mr. president, we're not here for an argument, we've just done some work and we're looking for ways to improve the situation, we've already agreed
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if there's anything on the list you don't like, we'll drop it. and bush wouldn't budge. and finally when it came to me i said, mr. president, i've been coming down here for almost 30 years, this is the first time i've ever been told that the president's mind was closed before the subject was even opened. and i said, i'm going to ask you some questions about things we've been briefed on and i want to know what you've been told and i want to know if you've been told about them. because i know we've been told and it scares the hell out of me. and so we went through those items and to make a long story short, it was apparent to me that even though we had bipartisan agreement on a number of these ads, that the president was not interested in listening to anybody else's ideas. and at that point, i thought, i changed my mind about what i expected from the whole bush
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administration. i thought it was going to be a moderate, thoughtful administration. i thought the president had a great sense of humor and would be a great guy to work with. and he does have a good sense of humor, but his attitude that day just convinced me that i was going to stick around for a while because i could see some things happening that i just did not like. it's a long story, but i've never forgotten that meeting. and if it had not been for that meeting i'd have been out of here a long time ago. >> mr. chairman, can you name what democrat ticket might run for your seat? do you think the government may lose your seat and control of congress? >> we've got six democrats in the stable right now. i've talked to all six of them this morning. and i think that any one of them is capable of winning that seat. if i hasn't thought so i wouldn't have done this --
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hadn't thought so i wouldn't have done this. i had wanted to do this, i had hoped that the health care bill would be done by september. and then i would have been able to make my announcement then. but as you know it dragged on forever and forever and then even longer than that it seemed. so, i didn't know until, you know, the last six weeks or so that that baby was tied down. and i also wanted to make sure that the economy looked like it was really going to be turning around even if only slowly and i wanted to make sure those elements were in place before i did what i wanted to do a long time ago. i love this place, i love this room, i love most of my colleagues, but, i mean, after
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48 years it does get a bit much. i just -- i want to do something else for a few years, starting with putting a -- playing a lot more music than i've played in a long time. >> will you play the harmon can version -- >> no. no, no, no. [applause] no. harmonica is not a good solo instrument. if i had thought to have craig and doug bring their guitars, then i would have played. but i'll tell you one thing, i did play at rosa delauro's party two weeks ago with peter garow.
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we played together in the past and i played with a lot of good musicians. i played with harry bell fonte, with willie -- belafonte, with willie nelson, with lots of people. and i'm going to do a lot morer that -- of that than i've been doing in the last few months. >> how much of your leaving has to do with how much friction you've had with us, the press? >> oh, don't overrate yourself. [applause] i have a great deal of respect for the press. you've got a tough job and the economics of the newspaper industry are just as devastating as the economic situation facing the economy as a whole. and do i find the press
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irritating? yes. that's a natural state of affairs in a democracy. i mean, i was absolutely shocked to have one of my sons become a reporter. just as i was shocked to have one of my sons marry a minnesota viking fan. but there are certain things that you can overcome with help and i've gotten help. >> [inaudible] what do you want to get donnie your remaining months? >> everything. i would hope that we will get real financial reform, i would hope that we would recognize that we've had such immense growth of income for the economic elite in this country that we need to turn that around and begin to put average middle class people first and so i
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would like to see us begin to develop a tax code that is a hell of a lot more fair to working families than the tax code that we're operating under today. and we have to attack issues like climate change. i mean, after all, this is the planet that sustains us all. but most of all we have got to continue to deal with the jobs, with the jobs problem. we cannot allow half the jobs that we saved in last year's stimulus package, by the aid package that we had to state governments, we cannot allow half of those jobs to be lost this year because the congress ceases to recognize the shambles that most state budgets are still in. so, i would hope that we would get some -- something like that
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done. i would hope we would continue to help states deal with their child health problems. there's no lack of things for the congress to do. >> when you say, mr. chairman, that if you stayed you would not likely be able to do more big things and become the lowest common denominator, i think you're suggesting that you believe -- [inaudible] could you talk about this, the democrats are going to have -- the democrats are will have less influence? >> it's not that i think that. it's frankly the mood of the country seems to be that, well, in some sectors of the economy herbert hoover seems to have won the economic argument after a long debate in this country. i thought this country had learned that in times of economic recession we needed to
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reinflate the economy by providing temporary, i emphasize temporary, tax cuts and temporary spending increases. but people seem to be so focused only on the federal budget deficit, which i agree is a long-term obligation for us to deal with, but they seem to be so focused on that in the short-term that they're recognizing that the even more important problem we have facing us is the jobs deficit. and i'm just tired of fighting that fight. i want somebody else to step in with fresh legs and a new pair of boxing gloves. >> talk about health care bill and talked about the millions of dollars that you secured for health care assistance in the state of wisconsin -- [inaudible] tell us a little bit about the net effect that has had on health care, both at the national level and also at the
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-- [inaudible] >> i'm sorry. tell what you? >> the net effect that the money that you have been able to secure for the health care systems in your district and also -- >> well -- [inaudible] >> i mean, if you just, in this pact, if you take a look at the page labeled health care and public safety, you will notice a lot of items described -- describing dental clinics we've been able to establish in the district. i remember going to dedicate a new dental clinic that was going to serve a three-county area in my district. and so i went to ryan lander and ant gow and there i met a man -- antigo and there i met a man or a woman rather who told me about her problem. her husband was sick, i think he had m.s., he couldn't work and
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her son had braces on his teeth and he'd had them on for a long, long time. she called every one of the 34 dentists in that three-county area who took medicaid patients trying to find one dentist who would take the braces off the kid's teeth. couldn't find one. and so she finally held the kid down while her husband took the braces off with a pair of plires. i ran into another elderly man who told the staff at the dental clinic that he had himself extracted six of his own teeth with a pair of pliers because he couldn't get into a dentist. that kind of nonsense just shouldn't happen and so we've tried to put a special emphasis on providing dental care in as
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many places as we could. that's what we did with those nasty things called earmarks. >> mr. chairman, can you talk about your replacement in the committee and any advice you have? >> who will replace me? >> in the committee? >> i mean, well, that's always up to the caucus. norm dicks is the next person in line and i have no reason to assume that he would not be the next chairman of the full committee. as you know, he's also just become the chairman of the defense subcommittee. as he's indicated, it only took him 32 years in order to rise to the top of that subcommittee. and i think norm would do a fine job. is that it? thank you all very much for coming. i appreciate it. [applause]
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [inaudible]
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>> i forgot to read a book. [inaudible] >> a new federal requirement calls on airlines to check for new names on the no fly list within two hours of being notified. white house press secretary robert gibbs confirmed the change at today's briefing. other topics include the gulf of mexico oil spill and the supreme court nominee selection process.
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this is about 45 minutes. >> good afternoon. take us away. >> question on the times square case. the requirement now that airlines check the no-fly list within two hours of an update instead of 24 hours, is that being done because of the times square case and the fabt that the suspect actually did get on an airplane? >> being done because a review of the situation finds that an airline has -- is required every 24 hours to check -- to check the no-fly list. the suspect's name was entered a little afternoon, i believe, on
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monday, therefore on the no-fly list the airline didn't have to check necessarily at that point. the new rules require that that happen at a two-hour interval. if airlines are notified that somebody's been added as a risk to the no-fly list. i will say, again, as we said yesterday, the reason there is a -- the reason there are redundancies in the system is to allow for -- is to ensure that there are many, many mechanisms that would allow you to prevent somebody from flying, which is what happened in this case. the c.b.p. takes a locked manifest that's required to be filed 30 minutes before a flight
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with people that are on the plane, that was checked against that list and the individual was removed from the plane. >> are there consequences for an airline that doesn't keep someone who is on a no-fly list off an airplane? >> i i'd have to point to you d.h.s. on that. >> two questions. one on the supreme court and one on the oil spill. on the supreme court, you can tell us how the meeting went this morning? >> i don't have a readout on the meeting. i know that the meetings were a result of conversations that the president had on the phone over the past several weeks with both senators. i have no doubt that the supreme court came up and was part of that discussion. i also would assume that other issues were covered in each one of those meetings. >> you can confirm that the list is has been narrowed and if so to how many? >> i'm not going to get into characterizing where we are in
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the process except to say that the president is in the midst of reviewing a number of very impressive candidates to pick one and announce that in due course. >> the oil spill, senator reid has said he would support a cap for liability of $10 billion. is that a number that the white house would support as well? >> yeah. i think $10 billion was in the legislative that senator menendez and others introduced on monday. we -- after i got the question here about the $75 million cap for obviously the three exceptions that we talked about, willful misconduct, gross negligence and not paying attention to -- or in violation of federal regulations that removes that cap, o.m.b. was working on -- in the process of working with the hill on legislation to lift that cap. i have not gotten from them a
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number whether it be $10 billion or something in that neighborhood. we would be in favor of significantly lifting that cap, a cap put in place in the oil pollution act of 1990, so at least 20 years old. >> you don't have a specific -- >> i don't have a specific number. i would reiterate, jeff, that as the president said, b.p.'s going to get a bill for the recovery of the cleanup and the damages caused. yes, sir. >> the vice chair of the 9/11 commission, lee hamilton, told abc news yesterday that there was -- among their recommendations was that the u.s. government crack down on the border and customs when it comes to people coming into thisy country and leaving this country. and he said the first part of that has largely been done but the last part of it has not. we don't -- nobody has to show papers as they leave the country and it's different in a lot of
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other western countries. other than this new t.s.a. regulation when it comes to airlines checking their manifest and checking updates on the no-fly list, is the administration considering looking at this as a weakness? >> let me check with -- obviously a couple of people that we have here worked on the 9/11 commission and with lee hamilton, somebody the president is fond and fm with a -- familiar with. let me check on what notion of what he's proposed and talked about, we might also be looking at. >> do you have any response to reports that this individual, faisal shahzad, the joint terrorism task force did know about him, was alerted about him years before? is there any information? >> not that i'm aware of. i have not seen that report. let me take a look at it and see where the best place is. >> -- pakistan you can tell us
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about? >> none that i want to get into. >> just to follow up on shahzad, there was a pakistani spokesman who said that shahzad is not a part of their organization, that there is no link. is there any reason to believe that that is true or that he does not have these kind of international terrorist lynx? >> let me just say this. we're in the -- links. >> let me just say this. we are in the midst of an ongoing investigation. obviously a big part of that ongoing investigation is to evaluate where he was and what he was doing during his time in pakistan. beyond think a don't want to get into a lot of specifics on that at this point. >> does that have any credibility at all or is that -- at least the justice department looking into it? >> the justice department is actively looking at, as well as others, looking at, as i said, the time he spent in pakistan. but i don't want to get into -- i don't want to get into specifics on that.
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>> and there's a police source that tells cnn that shahzad has a brother that's in canada, amir shahzad, an engineer is that someone who the justice department or administration was looking at? >> let me point you over to justice on -- or f.b.i. specifically on that and whether or not they would even in to all honesty discuss that publicly. >> you can shed, on the oil spill, can you shed any light on why b.p. was exempted from the environmental impact analysis? >> yeah, well, the -- there are a series of reviews that have to -- you have to go through in order to get drilling permits. the process by which was referenced in that article as part of the review that secretary salazar is undergoing. >> and on the times square incident, as i understand it, when shahzad returned from
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pakistan in february he was screened under the policy then in existence for people coming from certain countries, to be screened. that information turned out to be valuable. if that policy had not been in place and it is now not in place, then perhaps you wouldn't have gotten this information. >> i'm confused on your timeline here. >> the policy was then in place that people coming from certain countries including pakistan automatically were subjected to -- the 14 countries -- >> i see. let me check and see. i'm sorry. i was confused on the -- >> he came from one of the 14 countries that automatically people were automatically subjected to additional screening and some information was obtained that was valuable in this investigation. in light of that, has any consideration been given to returning to that policy? >> let me check and see about that. >> one other. you can shed any light on why -- on how he slipped away from
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f.b.i. surveillance? >> again, for specifics on the f.b.i. stuff, i would point you over to f.b.i. >> on supreme court, do you expect there will be more interviews? >> i don't want to get into that. i think the process is ongoing. >> why not? >> i just, you know, the president's in a process of making a decision and we'll let you know the outcome of that in due time. >> when he does these interviews are they one-on-one? >> yes, usually. i would say, there's a one-on-one component and then the vice president has been involved separately as are staff working on the process. >> and just to let use in the process a little bit, i'm not going to ask you -- >> i just gave you more than i probably meant to. >> i was on a roll here. so, what is the president trying to learn from these honorees in
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the process? is it about legal topics or get to know you? >> i'm not going to get much further than what i just talked about. >> ok. then last thing, yesterday we asked a lot of questions about the no-fly list and it seemed as though you were saying that although there may have been a problem with the carrier, that see essentially the system had functioned properly. now we hear about the new t.s.a. changes. does that more or less an acknowledgment that the system did not work perfectly in this case? >> again, the description think a gave you yesterday and the description which was a description of the events prevented the individual from flying. the system is structured again so that in the event -- look, we have had -- we had, i forget the exact facts, but we had -- you had names in the christmas bombing, you had names that were misspelled. you build in redundancy to a
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security system to ensure that this -- you don't have to have a silver bullet strategy. so the system is set up so that a series of checks are provided that prevented this person from flying. that having been said, the president will always look at, in thanges that -- in any type of situation, on a whole host of issues, at what can be improved. >> he specifically expressed concern about that issue? >> the administration acted to ensure that if a 24-hour period wasn't a timely enough process for ticket purchase, that that be expedited, updated in order to provide, i want to be careful to use expedited, that the list be refreshed for those that are put on in an expedited basis.
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but again, the no-fly list in many cases prevents you from purchasing a ticket. but there are, again, there's another check through customs and border protection in order to ensure that we're checking the manifests both coming and going of flights. >> does the administration view this ins department as at all a consequence of its stepped up aggressive activity in afghanistan? >> i touched on this a little bit yesterday. i think that since 9/11 our country has been under somewhat constant threat of terrorist activity. i think many of you have covered and written about an increase in our tempo, not just in southeast asia but in africa and around the world. as a result of that increased
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tempo there has been a degradation of the command and control, the upper command and control structure of al qaeda. which i think has lessened their ability to plan and execute attacks of a spectacular nature like september 11. that has led them to smaller, less sophisticated attacks using less capability. i think that is a function of part of that degradation in the senior al qaeda leadership. i think that's what's caused, again, some of these attacks to be done on a smaller scale. >> in terms of motives do you
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think that this policy is at all tomenting your sense of radicalism among people who might not have otherwise been interested in this activity? >> i don't -- i wouldn't want to generalize in the sense of necessarily based on the pending investigation attributing that to this individual, without something more concrete. again, i touched on yesterday, there are those that seek to do us harm, that are upset about the increased -- our increased presence in afghanistan. so, i think there could be a whole host of those, a whole host of those types of -- purported explanations. >> and finally, just to follow up on the supreme court, i guess i don't understand why you're reluctant to just tell us what the president is hoping to achieve with the, what the general topics are -- >> he's hoping to achieve in the
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interviews the selection of the best supreme court justice. >> why wouldn't you want to tell us a little bit more about his thought process as he goes about that very important task? >> we'll explain that. >> in the past you've been more open about this. have you been chastised for speaking? >> i -- the truth, is you know, each day we, as i said here yesterday, not going to get into when and where or if we're not going to do this today. i said that's probably only going to cut down marginally if i get asked whether we're doing it that day. sure enough, it happened this morning. you know, i get it. i just am not going to get a hole lot further. >> [inaudible] >> yes. all right. i don't know if those little morsels help or just lead to you many more questions that i'm just not going to answer.
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>> [inaudible] >> jake likes my tie. go ahead. >> after the christmas day incident, the president used the words systemic failure. would you put the suspect's ability to plan a bomb and almost get away from the country in that same category as a systemic failure? >> no. again, i think it's important to understand and i would point you to what commissioner kelly said yesterday, the time elapsed from what happened, the attempt in times square to having this terrorist in custody was done over an extraordinarily rapid time period. i think the seamlessness for
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which federal, state and local authorities worked together as commissioner kelly said is something that we have in all of these investigations, i think this is true over many administrations, you strive for. so, i think in many ways we want to celebrate the success of, rightly so, of what law enforcement was able to do. that having been said, as i said here yesterday, the president uses any opportunity to evaluate whether we're doing -- whether what we're doing is as effective as it can be and we'll change whatever needs to be changed. >> if wasn't as grave as a systemic failure, would you concede that there were some failures that allowed both the planning of the bomb, his ability to re-enter the u.s. and
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plant this bomb, and almost get away, there were a number of failures. what i'm getting at is is the president -- >> i'd ask you to be more specific. i don't want to try to paris what you're saying but i don't -- >> the guy left the united states, he came back from pakistan, the policy -- and he was interviewed when he came back because that policy was allowed. >> right. >> they had certain details about him, he was able to drive into times square, plant this -- >> people, what would -- i don't -- i guess i'm not entirely sure what would -- i'm not the police commissioner for new york, i'm not the mayor of new york. i honestly don't know what would prevent somebody from driving into times square. i don't -- that -- >> fine, but to -- this guy had a background.
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>> but, i think you're intimating that somehow this guy was in a whole lot of databases prior to coming back that would lead to you believe that he was likely to crudely assemble something like this. and i'm just not sure that the proof would bear that out. >> is the president going to order the same scale of a review that he ordered after the -- >> again, there was -- the president had a regularly scheduled terrorism threat briefing that he has on a weekly basis, that was yesterday. they discussed this in that meeting, it took place while i was out here briefing so i was not in attendance. suffice to say, as i said just a few minuteses ago and yesterday, the president will ask that all aspects of and be reviewed to make sure we're as effective as we can even as we -- even as we're thankful that this individual in a very short
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period of time was arrested and is now being questioned. >> what i'm getting at is, is it going to be the same deadline review? >> i've not heard the president or john say that. >> has the white house seen a language of the dodge-shelby amendment that's going to end too big to fail? >> i think either we have seen or are in the process of reviewing some of that. obviously what we have been able to look at appears to preserve one of the president's core principles and that is that never again should the taxpayers of this country be on the hook for the reckless irresponsibility of big banks or wall street. >> are you endorsing it? >> again, we're continuing to look at it to ensure -- to evaluate all of it.
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again, i think the -- one of the big things in it appears to be the dropping of the fund that, as you all know, was not in our original proposal. >> and will the administration seek legislation that would allow the government to block firearm sales to people that are on the terror watch list? >> i saw mayor bloomberg testify to that and i've asked for guidance if we've taken a position on that. >> you can get back to us on that? >> yes. >> thanks. yes, sir. >> robert, does the white house believe it was a mistake for this categorical exemption to be granted to b.p. for deep water horizon? >> that's part of the investigation. i don't have the answer to that. >> so, that's something that you're looking into presently? >> i would say, as the president asked secretary salazar to undertake a 30-day review of what happened, that would certainly be part of the process
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under which he would evaluate it. >> and, mark, you said yesterday, i'm of the opinion that boosterism breeds complacency and that breeds disaster that in my opinion is what happened. do you have any reaction to that? and saying there was something complacent about the federal regulators, meaning the management service dealing with this particular granting of the exemmingts. >> i'll be honest with you, i think it would be premature to know -- i'm unaware that we know exactly what happened. and i wouldn't want to comment on that until we had a sense of exactly what happened. [inaudible] again i topet know that it's -- don't know that the -- i mean, again, you heard secretary hayes and others say that these -- that there were individual inspections of blowout preventers and rigs very recently. so, i think that -- i think i'd wait until we had something more
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concrete from secretary salazar as to make a determination on that. suffice to say that would be part of it, as i said, his review. >> some have noted that while senator and while running for president, senator obama received 77 -- $77,000 in contributions from b.p., taken note of that -- fwr >> from employees. >> to any who might see that as part of this equation would say what? -- equation, you'd say what? to receiving money and that a regulatory decision at the interior department during his presidency. >> i would say that's silly and ridiculous. >> is mayor bloomberg coming over here or commissioner kelly since they're in town to update the president on anything? >> not that i'm aware of. commissioner kelly was with the attorney general and the deputy of the secretary of homeland security and the f.b.i.
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yesterday but i'm unaware that he's coming over here. >> not seeking re-election? >> i just saw that before i calm out by you vent -- but i haven't had a chance to look through it. >> yesterday you said there obviously is a carrier element in all this. it sounds like you're saying there probably isn't, right? they were not under an obligation under the old t.s.a. rules to check the no-fly list. >> what we want to do is prevent -- you add a name onto the list in an expedited -- in a way in which you've got somebody who is of great interest and could possibly pop up someplace like this trying to leave, what we want to do is ensure that there was a mechanism in place that requires that that list be continually changed, again, the requirement that an airline do it every 24 hours, they could do it more frequently, but they
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have to do it at least that frequently. and it seemed common sense to the president and the administration to simply put in place a requirement that that be done every two hours if somebody is added to that list. >> that does sound like they complied with the old -- rules. >> i assume they'll go back and look through that. >> robert, this was supposed to be sort of a jobs theme week at one point where you have the business council speech, go to new jersey today, jobs numbers come out friday. as has happened before, external events interfere and then you have all these other things that are on your plate that must pass and we'd like to pass legislation when the health care, now the financial regulation. is the president frustrated that he isn't able to convey a sense that it's jobs, jobs, jobs her at the administration? >> well, let me give you two
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answers. first and foremost, i don't believe in any way, shape or form that the president doesn't believe that financial reform has a lot to do with strengthening the economy and jobs. as a result of reckless decisions that wall street and big banks made, we lost 8 1/2 million of them. so i don't think that -- again, i wouldn't divorce those two issues. secondly, look, the nature of the presidency and the nature of being the leader of a country is -- as big as the united states means that a lot of things can happen at the same time. i could not necessarily have predicted all of what the president is dealing with over the past four or five days necessarily, but you always in the back of your mind know that
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that's a possibility. that's not to say, though, that the president, even as he works on the oil spill or on terrorism, isn't making, as said earlier, progress on selecting somebody for the supreme court or speaking to the business council about strengthening our regulatory structure in order to strengthen our foundation for a stronger economy. >> you think americans associate financial regulation with job creation? >> i think they understand that because of the reckless decisions made by some big banks on wall street that this economy got screwed up to the point where many of them lost their jobs. i think they can -- i think they definitely see that. i think they understand that the economic situation that they're dealing with, whether it is with credit card debt or whether their housing prices went down because their neighbor got a
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loan that they didn't fully understand all of the components of, i think that very much impacts their personal economic situation. to the point where -- i guess i don't think that it's all quite as segmented as many think it is. >> if i could close on this, the house a long time ago passed its jobs bill. so? in the senate there's a welter of bills in different pieces to be smaller and the option is that nothing's really happening. what is the administration doing to shake something snout >> we obviously -- financial reform is on the floor at the moment. we've made progress on individual things like retrofitting and home star legislation that we think will have a positive benefit and we'll get a sense of where we stand on friday with the jobs numbers. >> immigration reform, is the
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president going to talk about that in any specificity tonight? >> he will. >> is he going to take the opportunity to clear up -- to set the record straight on what he said on air force one which has been interpreted as his saying, it ain't going to happen this year? >> having looked at it and having talked to him about that, i don't -- i think the president said that immigration is a very hard issue that congress might not finish this year. i happen to believe that -- well, i don't think there's anybody that would disagree with that. i mean, it is a big and complicated issue. we've seen that in the past it takes democrats and republicans, even in the best of circumstances, to get this done. the president has met with senator schumer and graham who are working on a bipartisan proposal, they asked him to do specific things to move immigration reform forward, which he's done. so i think he will discuss the need to continue to make
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progress on that even in, as jackie said, in a very busy legislative time. >> is he going to use the words this year? >> i think he will -- let me -- i'll give you a little preview once i read where we are. >> does the president -- well, the suspect in the times square incident, they said yesterday was talking and being cooperative. does a summary of what he has told investigators -- interrogators, come to the president or john brennan? >> let me -- i think john likely gets all of that information. i'll double check. >> is that appropriate for the investigative material from the suspect to be shared -- >> let me check with john and see. obviously the president gets from a whole host of entities in the daily briefing each day an update of where we are. whether or not we get into the
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specifics of -- i will -- let me ask john. i don't know exactly. there's a lot of stuff in that office. >> david obey's decision not to seek re-election, is that another sign that it's going to be a really bad year for incumbents? >> i simply saw the alert that he's not returning -- running, virginia not looked at what the reasoning is -- i have not looked at what the reasoning is, what his perm reasoning is for not seeking re-election -- personal reason is for not seeking re-election. i said this a long, long time ago to a question that chuck had asked which is, i think people make decisions about whether to run or not to run for a whole host of reasons. i don't doubt that the political environment is part of that reason, but i don't think that i would in any way say that that is the only reason. again, there are a whole host of family and personal reasons that -- in having dealt with
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candidates trying to make decisions about running for races that you certainly shift through. >> two quick questions. one, as far as the bomber is concerned, is there a message to be learned -- [inaudible] or do you think the president -- [inaudible] the time has come for the president to visit a local mosque because i have talked to many pakistanis here in the springfield area and what they're saying is -- [inaudible] incident where pakistan and nationals are being subjected to this issue and they are afraid and scared of being targeted because many pakistanis are good pakistanis. do you think a presidential visit to a local mosque -- >> i can certainly talk to scheduling and see if that's something that's been discussed. i have not heard that. >> second. b.p. oil spill is concerned -- concerned, was there any from the company or the u.s. outside
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help or outside experts? >> i think the state department has fielded individual countries who have offered assistance in some way, shape or form and are processing that through and getting that information to those at d.h.s. ahead of the national incident command to ensure that any resources that can be helpful are used. >> following up on immigration, some of the advocates would like to see a health care-style summit meeting at the white house with opponents of immigration to work it through. is the white house open to that kind of summit meeting on the issue? >> look, i don't know that i've heard that directly here. i would say, again, peter, this is not an issue, as the
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president has seen working on this issue in the senate or as president, that is going to pass with the support of only one political party. i don't know the degree to which there are, at least in the senate, a tremendous number of, right now, republican sponsors for that legislation. this isn't -- this is not going to pass only with one party's votes. so, the president was asked by those bipartisan basis working on this issue to call five republicans to seek their help and i think that is -- that has partly moved the process along. >> is the white house having any success in bringing any republicans onboard? does that effort continue even as we speak? >> absolutely. obviously people are involved here and those that the president reached out to, many of them said that they would --
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they would begin to get involved in and look at the process of what is happening up on capitol hill. yes, sir. >> a question on don't ask, don't tell. some clarification on the letter and white house statement issued next week -- last week. the white house -- [inaudible] until after the study. does this mean the president is ruling out endorsement of repeal this year as part of the defense authorization? >> let me get some guidance on that i don't know the answer to that. >> is the president intentionally open to a scenario where congress votes on repeal this year but delays implementation of repeal until the defense department study comes out? nord, deferring to the -- in order, deferring to the department of defense's timeline? >> i've not heard that but i will get an update on whether that's something that we have heard from the hill or others
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around town about. >> he has he spoken to secretary gate recently about that? >> not that i'm aware of. april. >> several topics really fast. immigration, some are saying that on the hill democrats on the hill saying realistically it's an issue that will have to be taken up in a second term if this president does have a second term. what is the realistic timeline to pick on on immigration? >> the president has begun work on it this year. april, i don't -- i think as a result of a lot of things, not the least of which is the law in arizona, i don't think this is -- you're talking about not working on this -- you're talking about not making progress on this until 2013. i don't -- i have not heard that as anything that's been discussed. who's saying that on capitol
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hill? >> high ranking democrats. they said saturday night, as a matter of fact. >> i -- [laughter] i'm wondering whether to probe on that and i've decided that -- right. all right. i'm going to put -- i'm putting it down and slowly walking away. i'm going to let you go and ask -- >> it was a serious -- they seriously said it was moving on -- said -- moving on. >> i love how you had to get the last word in. i didn't probe you that at some after-party. >> it wasn't an after-party. >> it was at the cocktail reception. >> moving on. [laughter] >> come on. even the look on your face, you knew when you had said that you sort of got caught. go on. >> all right. when i asked you -- >> as fun as i was having. >> i wasn't going to fall into it. when i asked you, was the president close to making a
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decision, you said yes. that leads me to believe that maybe he was whittling downs i -- down his list. am i right in considering that? >> i'm not going to move the public process that much more forward except to say think a do think he's getting closer. >> on hbcu's, this weekend begin it's the weekend with the president and the first lady give commencement addresses and then the rest of the -- a large part of the administration will be delivering commencement addresses to many of the 105 lbcu's. why now this plethraphy administration officials going to hbcu's to deliver commencement addresses versus last year when the president and mrs. obama didn't deliver any and there was concern of the hbcu community that many of the young hbcu students got out and voted for this president and it was just -- it was nothing last year, now it's an overwhelming show at a commencement season? >> not entirely sure that -- i
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don't have a list of all the commencements that at -- administration officials did last year. suffice to say, april, the president's not going to be -- and the first lady aren't going to be every -- to do every college or university every year. we select a small number for the president and the first lady each year in order for him to talk about a whole host of different topic -- topics and i know he's -- both of them are looking forward to this weekend. >> one on imgraduation and one on b.p. house republican conference chairman mike pence today said that the people in the gulf of mexico, quote, deserve better than the response to the oil spill and sort of characterized the administration's positioning of equipment and vessels there as being slow. do you have a response to that? >> well, i think it is as badly informed -- it sounds as badly informed as i think it is.
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you know, there was an explosion on the night of april 20 that was responded to by the coast guard. looking for those that had been injured and those that were missing. the morning after the explosion secretary salazar deployed, deputy secretary hayes to the region to assist the coordination and response and provide hourly updates to secretary salazar about what was happening. on the 22nd when the rig sank the nasa response team was activated and late that are day the president convened a meeting in the oval office with all of those involved. there's a an 18-page document on our website about all that was done. i'd be -- what exactly, in that
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response, did mr. pence find lacking? >> essentially he was just generally talking about the positioning of vessels to deal with the spill as opposed to the search and rescue. >> when the first thing happens, when you find who's on the rig and you try to get them to medical safety, get some -- them to some medical care and find those that are missing, is that the -- that's his whole thing? interesting. ok. >> immigration question. the phoenix suns have decided to use los suns on their jersey. what do you think of that? do you think you're going to see more express he is -- expressions of that? >> i think somebody at a higher pay level will probably talk about that a little later on today. who's that? >> who's higher than you, who's that? >> who's higher than you,
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